One of the key initiatives in Toyota’s bold Environmental Challenge 2050 is to eliminate CO2 emissions from its production facilities. As you can see from the graphic below, it is being proposed through new manufacturing technologies and the use of renewable and hydrogen-based energy.
An important step toward achieving this goal debuted this week with the operation of a new zero emissions building at the Honsha Plant in Toyota City, Japan. As the oldest of all Toyota factories, it is appropriate that Honsha is the first facility to introduce such technologies within a commercial environment.
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Now installed in the building is a collection of static hydrogen fuel cells. These are cells similar to those found in the Toyota Mirai but specifically developed for use in small offices. The stack not only supplies power to the demand control system (see graphic below) but diverts excess heat to the building’s air conditioning system. If required, supplementary energy can be supplied directly from an array of solar cells or stored for later use within a bank of recycled Prius batteries.
An important way to save energy, of course, is not to use energy when it is not needed. So the building is designed to maximise use of natural light and natural ventilation.
Toyota will monitor the results of the fuel cell-based installation but expects to halve energy consumption within the building. Plans are therefore being laid to roll out this initiative at the plant’s other buildings and move steadily towards zero emissions throughout the Honsha facility.